Coupon Flyers, Christmas lights, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It's easy to lose the truth of Christmas in the frantic pace of December. The truth is that God came to earth.
Did you get that? God, who opens his mouth and breathes out galaxies, became a helpless embryo, the child of an unwed teenage mother. But don't worry. It was all part of his plan.
In our family, we find it helpful to take some time each day to remember the enormity and purpose of God's plan. We do this by putting up a Jesse Tree. In our house, it's a small pine tree, but you could use a branch or a paper tree. Each day, we tell a story of God's plan, leading up to his incarnation, his taking on human flesh. Most Jesse Tree sites start 28 before Christmas in order to celebrate for 4 full weeks before the big celebration. I find it works better for our family to start on December 1, so that's what we're going to do.
December 1 - The Jesse Tree
God made a promise to his people that they would not always have to live in fear and bondage. He promised a deliverer, someone who would bring peace to the earth, who would save through the power of the Spirit of God. He would come from the line of Jesse, the father of David. The people didn't know when this Savior would come, but they looked forward to him delivering them from generations of suffering. They watched the signs, they prayed for the Messiah to come quickly, and they kept their eyes on the family line of Jesse.
Today's symbol - the tree
Today's verse - Isaiah 11:1-7
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord--and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.